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re:Virals 200

Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly poem commentary feature on some of the finest haiku ever written in English. This week’s poem was

 
     maybe in my amygdala maybe a minefield

          — Eve Luckring, Bones 4 (2014) 

Radhamani Sarma mines the vein:

This is about the brain, which is a store house of thinking, a devil’s workshop, with constructive and devastatingly destructive thoughts.
Mind and matter are conjoined in the poet’s imagination; human limitations know no boundary, for the mind is either a devil’s workshop or a copious flow.

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As this week’s winner, Radhamani gets to choose next week’s poem, which you’ll find below. We invite you to write a commentary to it. It may be as long or short, academic or spontaneous, serious or silly, public or personal as you like. We will select out-takes from the best of these. And the very best will be reproduced in its entirety and take its place as part of the THF Archives. Best of all, the winning commentator gets to choose the next poem for commentary.
Anyone can participate. A new poem will appear each Friday morning. Simply put your commentary in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight (Eastern US Time Zone). Please use the subject
header “re:Virals” so we know what we’re looking at. We look forward to seeing some of your favorite poems — and finding out why!
re:Virals 200:

 
     Sore to the touch his name in my mouth  
                                                                        
          — Eve Luckring, Modern Haiku 42:3(2011) 

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Danny Blackwell, I express my sincerest thanks to you for having run this feature of The Haiku Foundation for eight weeks short of four years. I counted on my fingers.

    Much regard.
    Petru

  2. maybe in my amygdala maybe a minefield

    — Eve Luckring, Bones 4 (2014)

    Although there’s no punctuation in the one-line haiku, I read a pause after the first maybe, as if a question was asked, as if the writer was musing on a complex or confused state of mind. I think I detect a second pause after amygdala after which I almost automatically wanted to read the second maybe as two words, as in: in my amygdala there may be a minefield. One arrives at, after the first questioning maybe: maybe my amygdala is a minefield (which can be triggered at any moment as one has to step carefully through life and relations to avoid setting off a landmine.

    1. Dear Petru,
      .
      Monoku are fun, aren’t they! 🙂
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      maybe in my amygdala maybe a minefield
      .
      — Eve Luckring, Bones 4 (2014)
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      I am a founding editor of Bones journal, and would have have accepted this haiku too! 🙂
      https://bonesjournal.com/no4/bones-4.pdf
      .
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      I would hazard a guess that the monoku can be read in many ways, regarding punctuation.
      .
      e.g.
      .
      maybe in my amygdala maybe a minefield = no punctuation, rapid fire! 🙂
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      maybe, in my amygdala, maybe, a minefield
      .
      maybe in my amygdala, maybe a minefield
      .
      maybe in my amygdala maybe: a minefield
      or
      maybe in my amygdala maybe; a minefield
      .
      maybe, in my amygdala maybe, a minefield
      .
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      The amygdala (Latin, corpus amygdaloideum) is an almond-shape set of neurons located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. Shown to play a key role in the processsing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system. SCIENCE DAILY
      .
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      Emotions can be an uncontrollable uncomfortable experience, and hence the use of finding something that feels equally the same, and use it as a suggestion of a simile.
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      re amygdala and the limbic system:
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      The structures and interacting areas of the limbic system are involved in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory.
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      How often have relinquished control of a situation due to emotions? The danger is often heightened, of course, whenever alcohol is imbibed, when inhibitions diminish almost to nothing.
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      It’s often a horrible experience when we are prisoners to uncontrolled and excessive emotions, from ourselves, or others, or both us and someone else.
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      Travelling the single line of haiku – one line haiku / monoku / monostich
      https://area17.blogspot.com/2016/12/travelling-single-line-of-haiku-one.html
      .
      .

      warm regards,
      Alan Summers
      Call of the Page

      1. To Alan summers,

        Dear esteemed poet,
        Greetings, Regarding the haiku by Luckering, your following comments and the sustained link very enlightening.Reading over again and again.
        with regards
        S.RADHAMNI

        “would hazard a guess that the monoku can be read in many ways, regarding punctuation.”
        .

      2. Hi Allan,
        Thanks for both the links. I’ve scanned the Area17 site and like what is said about the white spaces between the words in the monoku. I suspect that will probably hold for other types of not only haiku but longer poems too.

        Your various interpretations of how the one by Eve Luckring can be read is fascinating. My first preference was the first example you gave. 🙂 A breathless uttering as if from one who is in a state of high anxiety. Playing with the possibilities though, other interpretations became apparent.

        Yes, the monoku is fun. I haven’t tried much of it myself but will give it a go one of these days.

        Warm regards,
        Petru

        1. Hi Petru,
          Alan with one l, after Alan Ladd movie actor. 🙂
          .
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          re NEGATIVE SPACE I have an ongoing article:
          https://area17.blogspot.com/2014/03/negative-space-in-haiku-writing-poetry.html
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          I allowed myself a few years to write monoku rather than the rush and conquer attitude. Some I wrote many years and then stopped, but since then I’ve written more and more:
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          all those red apples | travelling the monorail – haiku travelling in one line – one line haiku aka monostich aka monoku:
          https://area17.blogspot.com/2015/12/all-those-red-apples-travelling.html
          .
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          And yes, the second maybe could be reinterpreted as “may be” [two distinct words]. It’s all in the shorthand of the one line haiku.

          .
          Yes, negative space is used even in very long poems, short fiction, CNF, novels, films, and advertising, as it’s very effective, and will say as much if not more than the ‘positive space’ of black text.
          .
          You said:
          “Playing with the possibilities though, other interpretations became apparent.”
          .
          That’s very true, too often we rush a reading and overlook the interstices of language.
          .
          kind regards,
          Alan Summers
          Call of the Page

          1. Alan – with one l 🙂

            I remember Alan Ladd.

            In the pdf of Bones (the link you provided) I found the following haiku by Michael Nickles-Wisdom (and of course the first monoku in the journal is the one by Eve Luckring in this discussion 🙂 )

            greyish pond
            where the amygdala comes
            to drink

            Purely for interest sake.

            Having read through the various ways Luckring’s could be read I think I’ve decided the last listing of your interpretations may be the one most fitting.

            Very interesting!

            Petru.

  3. Radhamani sarma, your interpretation of the haiku is exactly descriptive of the function of the amygdala.

    I would also like to apologise for getting your name the wrong way round last week. I must’ve had a dyslexic moment. Forgive me.

  4. Radhamani Sarma’s clarity took my breath away! The human mind, “for the mind is either a devil’s workshop or a copious flow.” Beautiful! A succinct and stunning appraisal of Eve Luckring’s poem.

  5. The amygdala processes fearful and anxious emotions in response to a threat to survival. They talk of the hijacked amygdala with persons with PTSD. Referring to the amygdala in this haiku as a minefield relates to how a person with ptsd can be triggered: a seeming non-descript event can cause panic attacks and an over-developed sense of fear because of a previous trauma.

    This one-line haiku, no punctuation, resembles the stream of consciousness of a confused person. Perhaps she thinks her amygdala has been hijacked.

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